'Energy conversion', 'clowning' and sex abuse charges: The story of Australia's Kenja 'cult'.
MamaMia / True Crime
June 7, 2020
This past week, Janice Rita Hamilton, who is the co-founder of a Sydney “sect”, lost her lawsuit against the state of NSW after alleging police had labelled her partner the “pedophile leader of a cult” before he killed himself.
Janice Rita Hamilton, who witnessed her partner Kenneth Emmanuel Dyers’s death in 2007, sued the police claiming damages for “misfeasance in public office”.
police had labelled her partner the “pedophile leader of a cult”
Dyers killed himself after being told a detective had written to his solicitor inviting him to be interviewed about numerous sexual assault allegations against him.
Janice Hamilton and Ken Dyers together co-founded the so-called spiritual healing group Kenja – an amalgamation of their names – in 1982.
Here’s everything we know about Kenja – one of Australia’s most infamous ‘cults’, that still exists today.
Sexual abuse charges
Co-founder Ken Dyers had a history of sexual assault charges being made against him.
In 2005, Dyers had been charged with 22 counts relating to the sexual assault of two underage girls who were ex-members of Kenja, according to a 2007 article by The Sydney Morning Herald. At the time, his trial had been deferred as he was deemed mentally unfit.
Upon a third girl coming forward in 2007, Dyers was informed by police of the additional allegations. The next day, the 84-year-old’s body was found in his home. He had died by suicide.
According to Sydney Morning Herald, a girl alleged that when she was a young teenager, Dyers told her she had “sexual degradation in her energy field” that would require him to touch her while naked for the spirit to be cleared.
Upon his death, his partner Janice Hamilton claimed a letter sent to Dyers by police caused psychological harm.
In the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Michael Walton rejected Hamilton’s claim that the letter was sent with an actual intention of causing harm to Dyers and herself.
She had contended that the letter was "the final, malicious step" taken in an investigation that was carried out in a "highly improper manner".
"The sending of a letter by a police officer carrying out an investigation into alleged criminal activity is ordinarily an exercise of existing public power that falls within its scope," the judge said.
The relevant actions of the then-detective were "an exercise of that public power", the judge concluded.
allegedly involve nude one-on-one sessions
At the core of the 'sect' is a practice called Energy Conversion, which is described by the group as a way to "permanently eliminate the suppressed emotion, thought or energy that can divert us from what we want to achieve".
According to SMH in 2007, 'Energy conversion' sessions would allegedly involve nude one-on-one sessions, occasionally with women and children.
It was during these energy conversion sessions that two alleged victims of Dyers said they were sexually abused, as reported by the ABC.
A 2012 article published by News Corp details one former member of Kenja's experience with 'Energy conversion.'
my Kenjan mind-training kicked in
The former member wrote in part: "Sometimes we'd be processed naked in one-on-one sessions - Ken said it helped energy flow freely through the body. Once, when I woke from the fog of a naked processing session, Ken was lying on top of me with his trousers and underpants around his ankles. But my Kenjan mind-training kicked in and I immediately dismissed the idea he'd acted inappropriately, reasoning I could trust Ken and, if he'd touched me, I'd remember it."
A 2007 film on the cult, Beyond our Ken, interviewed Dyers about the group. According to the ABC, film director Melissa McLean was halfway through her first question when he vehemently defended the group.
"Why don't you have that viewpoint as well and do something worthwhile with your thing, instead of asking me to defend myself and defend myself?" he reportedly said.
"Defend Kenja, well we're playing a clean game, the cleanest game that's being played here in Australia and why do I have to defend myself for that? I don't and I'm not going to."
simple, childlike viewpoint
Another key practice of Kenja is 'klowning', inspired by 'clowning', which their website describes as used "to promote and develop free expression of the human viewpoint – that simple, childlike viewpoint which naturally radiates a genuine enthusiasm for life."
Today, the Kenja website states that they have centres in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra are owned and operated by centre Directors.
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